Red and Black Soup

  • 3/4 lb sweet italian sausage, crumbled
  • one chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped OR two heaping teaspoons of jar garlic
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 14 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup orzo, cooked al dente

Cook onion and garlic, add sausage, cook til done.

Add the rest except the orzo (which you can cook concurrently) and simmer half an hour or so.

Drain the orzo (if you just made it) and add, cook five more minutes.

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Spolentooms

  • 1 to 1 1/4 lb sweet Italian sausage. This is the most important ingredient, so higher quality sausage really pays off. If the sausages are in casings, cut off the casings and cut the sausages into 1 inch slices/balls. Loose sausage meat is fine too.
  • I package fresh baby spinach
  • I lb sliced brown (crimini or baby bella) mushrooms
  • I onion, diced
  • Pepper to taste
  • I scant cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use nonfat, it’s what’s in the fridge)
  • 1/4 cup (approx) fresh shredded parmesan cheese.

Boil 3 cups of water in a large saucepan with the 1/2 cup milk mixed in. Salt the water a bit. Just when it starts to boil, mix in the corn meal, whisking it in slowly. Turn the heat to medium low, and let cook for 20-30 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes or so. Don’t let it burn, just thicken and cook it.

While you’re watching the corn meal, get out a large frying pan and brown the onion in a bit of olive oil. Then (medium heat) add sausage and brown, and season with black pepper to taste. Then add the mushrooms until they give up their juices. Keep an eye on the polenta; just as it’s getting done, add the spinach to the sausage and stir and cook til it just barely wilts.

While doing the spinach, take the polenta off the heat, stir in the parmesan and let it sit until the spinach is wilted.

Spoon polenta in each person’s bowl, then sausage mix over it.

Serves four.